What’s a girl to do, when her ‘best boy’ commences walking out with another?
If she is sensible, she dismisses him post-haste for lack of taste and finds a ‘better’ boy.
Sadly, not all women are sensible.
Check out this salutary story from the Anglo-Celt, June 7th, 1850.
“SUSPECTED POISONING – A few days since, three labourers, in the employment of a farmer named Wilson, residing at the Montiaghs, having partaken of their usual breakfast of stirabout, shortly after became alarmingly ill with every symptom of having taken poison; they were immediately brought to Portsdown, and, under the care of Dr. Bredon, the worst symptoms were allayed, and, although still suffering, may be considered out of danger. A servant girl named Fox, residing in the house, was taken into custody, being strongly suspected of having administered arsenic to be revenged on one of the young men on whom she had been casting “sheeps’ eyes” for some time; for that he, not having the fear of Miss Fox before his eyes, did traitorously walk with a certain young female in the neighbourhood the preceding Sunday against Miss F’s will and consent! however, no direct evidence having been obtained against her she was discharged. So far the case remains involved in mystery.”
Miss Fox does not seem to have been convicted. Was she unfairly traduced? Was the arsenic really in the stirabout? And, if so, could it have found its way there by accident, like this other case reported in the Celt on February 1st of the same year?
“DANGEROUS NEGLIGENCE.–On Friday last, the lst inst., considerable alarm was created in the townland of Collekeel, west Mountnugent, the estate of his Grace the Lord Primate, by a report that a family named HALLIDAY were poisoned. It appeared on enquiry that HALLIDAY’s daughter made a cake, and mistaking a small paper of arsenic, which she found in a box, for soda, mixed it amongst the other ingredients; in some times after she, her mother, four children and a neighbour named BRADY, all of whom had eaten of the cake, were seized with vomiting and other symptoms which continued very alarming for many hours. They are all now going on favourably with the exception of old Mrs. HALLIDAY, who being previously very weak and delicate, cannot be said as yet to have so far recovered as to be pronounced out of danger. Had the quantity of poison consumed fallen to the share of one person instead of being divided among seven, it is more than probably a fatal result would have ensued.”
We shall never know. But it’s fun to speculate!
For details of other deaths by arsenic in 19th century Ireland, any of which would form the making of a good mystery novel on their own account, click here.